RSO Blog: Chamber Orchestra Concert

Welcome to our first venue experiment! This is the first of two concerts this season in which we leave the familiar (and very lovely) environment of the Coronado Theater and bring the RSO to other sites in Rockford.  There are three reasons behind this change.

First, if you are here anticipating a Saturday night concert, you’re either a day early or a day late! Some people work Saturday evenings, and others would rather not go out at night. So these subscription concerts actually offer two opportunities to hear the RSO: Friday evening and Sunday afternoon.

Second, we’re trying smaller venues for smaller ensembles. Audiences in the 18th century and much of the 19th century would be absolutely astonished that anyone would want to hear music in a theater the size of the Coronado. A typical public theater could accommodate 400 listeners for an orchestra of 25 or 30. There was a closeness, an intimacy between performer and audience that is lost in a big hall. We hope that smaller venues will make you feel closer to the music and the music makers, especially as we present works written for smaller ensembles.

Last, we’re trying for a little geographical diversity—very little, perhaps, considering both of our venues are on Rockford’s east side, but it’s a start. From the very beginning, we at the RSO have been enthusiastic proponents for the Coronado Theater and for performing arts in downtown Rockford, and that hasn’t changed: the Coronado is our home. We’re curious as to what it will feel like, both for you and the RSO members, to perform in new spaces. Please – let us know what you think!

The program begins with Mexican composer Silvestre Revueltas’ Ocho por Radio (‘Eight Musicians Broadcasting’), a tongue-in-cheek recreation of what one might hear while cruising AM radio in Mexico. Next, a work by that master of the huge post-romantic orchestra, Richard Strauss, who, having brought music to the precipice of atonality in his opera, Elektra, found inspiration in the delicate dance music of the 18th century French composer François Couperin. After intermission, we bask in the sublimely beautiful Siegfried Idyll, written by Richard Wagner as a Christmas present for his wife, Cosima. We conclude with another installment of our ongoing celebration of the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth with Erich Wolfgang Korngold’s witty suite from his ballet, Much Ado About Nothing.

It’s an eclectic mix of styles that presents great challenges to every musician on stage, and for these concerts, the RSO proudly features its members in an “up close and personal” format.


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